Members of the board of directors at DC Water, the water authority for the city of Washington, D.C., joked at a Tuesday meeting about the possibility of shutting off water to the White House after the federal government missed its quarterly payment due to the president’s ongoing government shutdown.
The board pointed to a notice DC Water had received from the General Services Administration (GSA) concerning delinquent pay due to the shutdown.
“We received an email Wednesday, January 2, from an individual at the bureau of fiscal services at the treasury,” DC Water CFO Matthew Brown reportedly said at the meeting.
Brown then explained that the federal government had informed the company it would be late on approximately $5 million of its $16.5 million due water bill.
Tommy Wells, the board’s chairman, responded with an inquiry about shutting off the government’s water.
“That brings up an interesting question,” said Wells, according to WAMU. “Is there a time from nonpayment when we cut someone’s water off?”
“1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is that what you’re talking about?” another member joked, according to WAMU.
A spokesman for DC Water explained to WAMU that the company was within its rights to shut off water to any nonpaying customer, though adding that such an option was only taken as a last resort.
“Conceivably, DC Water can shut off service for nonpayment to any customer,” spokesperson Vincent Morris told WAMU. “We don’t do it very often, it’s a last resort, we never want to do it.”
“Obviously, for things like the General Services Administration for the federal government it’s a slightly different process, because we know they’re good for the money, it’s just a question of when it’s actually going to be transferred,” Morris added.